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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Testing How These Turn Out -Might try more in the New Year




The Top 10 Action Figures of 2019: 11-20 - Dan in the Photobooth #202

Gin Wigmore - Hey Ho (Official Video)

Gin Wigmore - If Only

Episode 337 - MY HOT TOYS COLLECTION TOUR! 2019 EDITION!

How to Make Dirt Cheap Terrain for D&D - The Fairy Portal Diorama

Have YOU Seen THIS??!!

I mean the PayPal box because next post it will be pointing to something completely different and will make no sense at all!

"Comic Book Maverick and Outcast"


After a week of pondering the future (it can't just be me has the ghosts of Past, Present and Future turn up each year to just point and laugh hysterically?) my leg was in good enough shape for me to go to the shops yesterday -lucky really as the cats had that hungry look in their eyes...and I don't even own a cat).

Today...I'm sitting here listening to Project Pitchfork and "Rain" while looking out of the window.  I could take the diabetic way out and eat two cherry triples and four mince pies...hypoglycaemic coma combined with very messy trousers....better not. What would the neighbours say?

I hope that readers enjoyed the Chinese Manhua and Manga posts recently?  Remember the days when CBO used to do big theme days or mega posts with thousands of words and hundreds of images like the Sub-Mariner, Avengers, JLA ones or those on Samson in comics, TV and film -or Jekyll & Hyde or-- well, you know. Used to be fun and attracted thousands of views.  Not one word of comment though and it was at this point that I realised I might as well keep all the stuff in my head -at least I commented!

I was told -told mind you- by someone that a blog with so many views should attract things like Patreon support. Tried it all but nothing and this is something people think I am joking about until I show them -like the PayPalMe box (every so often I put the vacuum cleaner in there to clear out the dust...really big house spider in there now though).

I just actually deleted a few videos I had looking through British Golden Age comics and other stuff -all were made for CBO but...well, who cares?

Checked my online book store today and I can announce that I entered 2019 with zero sales and that is how 2020 will begin. A sort of cosmic certainty in an uncertain world. The huge £27 sales in June became (after falling £ and US Taxes) £16.00. According to one UK comics 'nice guy': "We've got him on the run"...I hate to point it out to the rather lewd fellow but with my leg I am NOT running anywhere.

My best piece of advice after over 40 years in comics and publishing: confine yourself to work and presenting that work to publishers. Forget the portfolio viewing at UK events beca I can really advise.use, as I discovered early on, these are wastes of time or PR exercises where even the most brilliant of artists I have seen walk away dejected after being told "You need to check out our comics  and need to improve your skills" or "You are a long ways off of working in the industry -keep practicing". I actually looked at two UK "professionals" at one of these sessions and asked why an exceptionally good artist had just been sent off with one of these dismissive lines? "Well, if we told every good artist they ought to contact and editor or publisher we'd soon be out of work!"  Seriously, talking to these people you find that either they have to do these panels for a company or they get into events for free ithey do a portfolio session for the organiser -wannabe artists will buy tickets if they think they will get pros to view their portfolios and that means more cash for the organiser.

Let me tell you another story to show how good these pros are. I used to meet up with other artists in the 1980s at the old Westminster comic Marts and we'd look at each others work mainly to see the types of paper used as well as effects achieved using different pens or nib types. We must have looked like a group of junkies in a corner sniffing ink and stroking paper!  Now, one well known artist approached us one day and looked at my pages and asked the brush type I used. Unfortunately, though I have tried, my fingers cannot use a brush, so I pointed out that I had used Berol pens -they give a nice fine and medium line. He went into a rant. HE was a professional and he KNEW when a brush was used and on and on.  So I took out a Berol Fine Line and showed him. He walked off in a huff. Three other pros were of the same opinion that I was using a brush and one was annoyed that I would not tell him which because "that line is so smooth".

Keep well away from comic forums and internet comic groups. And never ever ever ask people on those sites for advice on your work. These days I flatly refuse to read complete scripts for people or give them advice on their projects unless I know them and if they send me scans I may still not look at them.

Reason?  Simple really: if I have a story I am about to publish I may have written or drawn it a good 5-10 years ago but that does not matter if someone has recently sent me something for advice and it contains some of the same or similar elements. Several years ago a writer/artist accused me of stealing his idea and when I said I had never heard of him before or seen his work I was called a liar. Apparently he had been with a friend (his witness) and talked me though the pages at a Bristol Comic Expo I had never attended. Then he emailed me and asked whether there was another Terry Hooper in comics? My initial thought was to tell him to **** off but I asked why instead.  He had seen two photos of me and I was not the person he had spoken to as that 'Terry Hooper' was chubbier and a lot balder ("a lot balder"...wow). Yep, I think from the description that I know who this was but I couldn't care less.

I once, for the need to get out of the house and talk to real people, went to a couple of meetings of a Bristol comic group.  The two fellas running it had only produced so-so zines but acted as though they knew everything about comics -I asked several questions (basic ones if you have worked in comics) and they had no idea or simply threw out bovine excretia. As I was waiting to talk to them I overheard a female wannabe writer put forward an idea and it was shot down in flames as "the guys" said it would not be of interest.  As at conventions I pointed out to the woman involved that her story was good and that she ought to think about self-publishing. But, no, "the guys" knew and she walked off.  If these two were so professional and knew so much I had to ask myself why their every project HAD to be around zombies (really, that should have died out in the 1980s) and WHY they were not working full time in comics instead of having full time "norm" jobs?

I was recently on a Small Press Face Book page that I had not realised I was on any more. Someone hoping to break into comics had offered to sell 50 of his stories for £1 to get them published and the publisher could keep money made but not the rights. I pointed out that this was a VERY bad idea and that accepting even a $ for characters/stories was going to mean giving away those characters -just one good story or character that took off and that was it. Could he afford a legal battle to reclaim his rights having sold off characters and stories ("only 50 of hundreds I have!") because he had SOLD them and unless he had a legal contract (in comics a legal contract means nothing to a publisher) he was up Shit Brook with no boat or paddle (Shit Brook (also called Shyte Brook) is a culverted small stream in Much WenlockShropshire). I tried to explain Print on Demand and how he should never give away his work but I was told that he hoped this would give him his break into comics. As of today the offer is still there.

One thing you have to realise is that the people on web forums are not your friends. You may find the odd honest and fair person but comic forums are pure toxic. I know professionals who go onto them using pseudonyms (they are often friends of forum owners so try to get a fair reaction if you complain!) to belittle work uploaded by wannabe artists and will often make false accusations -the most common is that the artist is tracing from something. Complain and shout as much as you want and even show the pencilled pages as evidence and you'll hear "Clearly shows tracing lines" and the people on the forums who cannot draw will all condemn you -especially if the words were typed by a comics 'nice guy'.

In the old days you broke into comics as Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland and many others did (I think Mark Millar had his first text story published by Ben Dilworth) -by contributing to zines -small press publications but these days they are not what they used to be.  Hear of John Royle? I published one of his strips in Black Tower Adventure in the 1980s (I still have some original art he drew for me somewhere). Duncan Fegredo? First full strip work in my Previews Comic. This is all non-paying work because, let's be honest, if the publisher makes any money it hardly covers printing costs. Most will give you 5 copies of a book your work appears in to do what you want with -such as sending a copy to an editor or publisher to show your published work.

There is absolutely no fast and easy way into professional (paid) comics work despite what you might hear. You will need a full time job or part time job that helps pay your bills as you struggle to get any recognition. 

Remember that once you post anything to the internet it will be copied or stolen. Always put a (c) notice on artwork. DeviantArt and other sites let you show off your artwork but the same thing applies and to be honest I have been on there since...well, over a decade now, and never once nbeen offered work.  Well, I tell a lie. This one fellas shouted that he loved my style and that he had a 150 pages long graphic novel and he wanted me to draw it and was ready to go.  I asked who the  publisher would be? There wasn't one.  Was he paying pro page rates or offering a page rate and percentage of sales?  Never heard from him again.

There is a rather common thing going on where someone thinks having something to do with comics will make them cool. They tend to write mediocre stories that they want made into graphic novels. One person, back in the early 2000's, sent me a 30 pages script that had a lot of loopholes in it and was for all intents and purposes a Bladerunner rip off. There was confusion before I was told that this was what was to be a 120pp graphic novel. I pointed out that the script cover about 25pp and the response was that I could have a free hand in filling in the rest. Well, I had to sort his script out and add 90 plus pages. I declined the offer.

These people do not intend to have their graphic novels published.  They are things to be brought into conversation such as "In my graphic novel" and "having written graphic novels" or even producing the artwork so that they seem cool, hip or whatever. It is wasting an artist's time and getting work for free on false pretenses.  Similar to artists who beg for scripts and draw them but then change credits so that it is all their work and try to sell it behind your back (six times as I recall).

Get your own free blog or Face Book page. Do not think that paying for a blog will be any better than a free one -same features. Tried both. Went back to free. WordPress or Blogger and show your art on these -but if you are showing a 4-6pp strip leave out one or two pages so that anyone contemplating art theft would have to forge your style and know your script! Allow comments but be prepared for negativity -when all is said and done you have to grow a thick skin.

Do not make THE big mistake of thinking that if you buy the most expensive art paper and most expensive pens or brushes it will show you have a pro attitude and get work fast. Getting work depends on a lot of things but ,mainly your skill.   What you have to remember is that in this day and age you scan work for publishers so you may page £10/$10 per sheet for your paper but who cares? I was once in the Fleetway offices and talking to editors and asked about the A3 photocopies but realised they were original art and was told most pros work on the cheap paper and a lot went for A3 or eve A4 -once scanned paper size made no difference.

Realise that a publisher will not be paying for the paper you draw on.  They will not be paying for your pencils, pens, erasers, inks or even postage if you have to send in originals (in 2019/2020 you should not have to).  They pay you for your finished art. You have to take costs into account and use whatever costs you the least but works. You only draw on a computer...meh.  But no one gets really rich in comics -not everyone gets the TV or movie deal for their characters so ignore the talk of this being "quite common these days": It...is..NOT.  Every penny counts because landing regular work for life is not guaranteed and some of the Bronze Age's best American artists are today employed tidying up the work of younger creators that would otherwise not be up to scratch (but they do this behind the scenes and get no book credits).

A 45 year comics veteran who produces top notch work on time every time and has pulled a publishers fat out of the fire more than once will be tossed aside because a newcomer with no real experience is brought in...in some comics 3-4 or even 5 pencillers are brought in to do the work on a 20 pager that one used to do -and the inker -or inkers- then go to work.  These guys are young, hip, cool and  berate fans and cannot keep deadlines but, hey, better than a tried and tested veteran who respects the fans right?

Basically...self publish because you might as well be calling all the shots and be poor than not calling any shots and being poor.

Do not trust comic pros, editors (I have a LOT of stories) or publishers (again -lots of stories) as all will screw you over one way or the other.

NEVER EVER give your work away or your characters.

When another artist describes you as "Comic Book Maverick and Outcast" you know you've made it. In my case made it and still poor!


About our contributor
Terry Hooper-Scharf is a freelance comic book writer, editor and artist as well as publisher of Black Tower Comics & Books and is a recognised comics historian specialising in the British Golden Age. He generally seems to work for nothing but for this piece he was given two stale slices of bread which he grabbed and began crying over and saying "Manna from Heaven -tonight I eat like a king!". He is known as "Herr Professor" or simply "The Professor" and loves nothing more than checking hedgehog poop left on his doorstep. Face it -he's screwed.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Cinebook the 9th Art: YAKARI 17 - THE SNOW BIRD


Authors: Derib & Job
Age: 6 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849184601
£6.99 inc. VAT

One day when heavy rains force them to play inside, Yakari and Rainbow are startled by a strange sound. To their amazement, it’s followed by their whole tipi suddenly taking off and flying straight north, with them inside! After several hours of a not entirely pleasant journey, they’re greeted on landing by Rainbow’s spirit guide Nanabozho, the Great Rabbit, who wants them to meet the inhabitants of the great north. Among those is a mysterious white bird …

Yakari can get quite serious at times but it is always fun. This story, in many aspects, reminded me of some old British weekly comic strips.  The last page alone has a cuteness factor of 10.5 and made me smile (it was the comic or gastric reflux but I am sure it was a smile...).

If you have youngsters get them into reading early and there is no better series for that than Yakari!

Cinebook the 9th Art: GOMER GOOF 05 - GOOFBALL SEASON


Authors: Franquin
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849184625
£6.99 inc. VAT
Gomer is absolutely peerless when it comes to disrupting life at Spirou Magazine, much to his boss Prunelle’s and long-suffering Mr De Mesmaeker’s chagrin. But don’t you go underestimating him! The truth is that his laziness, his talent for invention and even his love of animals – not to mention his antiquated lemon of a car– are perfectly capable of spreading chaos anywhere, in any season. You can’t even imagine what he can do when it snows!
There is a nice text feature in this volume that took my attention as, to be honest, my streak of humour has been removed over the last year. There are the gags -including visual but what gets me is the art. Initially you think it is "very simplistic" but when you look at it properly you see just how detailed and stylised Franquin's work is. I know one adult who told me that this series was his guilty pleasure!
I think Gomer Goof, from reading previous volumes, is a series youngsters and adults can read -and why not?

Cinebook the 9th Art: BLAKE & MORTIMER 26 - THE VALLEY OF THE IMMORTALS PART 2


Author: Yves Sente; illustrated by Peter Van Dongen and Teun Berserik
Based on the Characters of E.P. Jacobs
Age: 10 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 72 colour pages
Publication: December 2019
ISBN: 9781849184373
£8.99 inc. VAT

Mortimer is brought to the camp of General Li Hsi, the Chinese warlord, where he is reunited with a seriously injured Nasir. The professor was kidnapped in order to recover the archaeological proof of the general’s imperial lineage, but also to repair the Red Wing, a formidable combat aircraft Olrik unwittingly delivered. While Blake moves heaven and earth to find him and protect Hong Kong, Mortimer escapes to go in search of the only thing that can save Nasir: a legendary pearl …

The last volume was out in February so I really can't recall what I wrote...luckily, Blogger has not deleted my review!  You can read that here:
https://hoopercomicart.blogspot.com/2019/02/cinebook-9th-art-blake-mortimer-25.html

This one with its 10-15 cramped panels a page and lots of text to read in each really had me ready to put it down.  That, however, is probably down to my temperament at the moment. I gave up then started re-reading and let things flow and you can understand why fans of the series creator, Edgar P. Jacobs, still love the series under the new team.

You really cannot go wrong for good old fun and action with a retro twist if it is under the Blake and Mortimer banner. Twists, turns and some lovely art -not to mention great colouring by Peter Van Dongen.    And 72 pages for £8.99 is not bad.

WATCHMEN HBO SAISON 1 : CRITIQUE & ANALYSE

I Found -Old Art!

While trying to skip through the current depression and crap I decided to see what condition some of my mini war-gaming trees were in.  You read right.  Anyway, I pulled the box out of the corner and lifted the teensy trees out and saw.....


....ARTWORK!

Not gone through most of it but I found two items that brought back mixed emotions.

The first is ZAG 21 -which requires an explanation since I think in an old posting I showed the dummy cover to JAG 21.  Basically, "back in the day", publishers loved to mess you about.  Steve McManus at Fleetway once introduced me to other staffers as "A comic book carpet-bagger of the best kind!"

I ought to point out that carpet-baggers were profiteering businessmen who moved to the South after the American Civil War in order to take advantage of the situation. In the UK a carpet bagger was seen as a sales agent trying to sell goods -some times not honestly!  I'm glad McManus added "of the best kind" after the intro.

I'd go to Marvel UK about twice a month -they really did love to mess people about.  I was once summoned to London to talk about an editorial job.  The day after talking to the head man by phone I travelled the 200+ miles to London to be told by someone the job had gone.  It transpired the **** in charge had given the job to a friend and knew it was gone when he invited me to their offices (he, incidentally, was "out of the office" that day.  Obviously heard about editors being held out of windows).

But on my rounds I would be asked to put a project together.  Mainly I had to simply pick strips or cover illoes from my files and do a quick Letraset logo on a cover and that was it.  Some times a comic had to be "tailored" to a request so an artist would produce a tailor made strip  (or usually me since deadlines were very tight).  It meant that comic strip inventory was pretty full.....and as an editor or publisher inevitably said "I've changed my mind" the work was never used -and no one got a "kill fee" because companies didn't like contracts or things in print that meant they might have to pay out.

ZAG 21 was a project based on a discussion with and then a request from an editor at Fleetway. and I shuffled things from JAG 21 and put in new strips and it became ZAG 21.   It turned out that despite what he said he had not, in fact, been asked "by management" to put a new title together. I have no idea what was going on in his little mind.

But then another company showed a LOT of interest in the title but there came another hitch.   Two of the artists who had begged, and I do mean "begged", me to take them on and write scripts for them decided they were too good.  One wrote: "To be honest I should be working for Marvel Comics.  I'm better than a lot of the people working there now..."  and he said I could not use the strip based on my script for ZAG 21 "I don't want it to come back and embarass me when I'm working for Marvel"  And the other artist had the same attitude.

Both left me in the lurch and, guess what?  They never even got in the same building as Marvel Comics. I had to draw both strips making it clear other artists would be doing the final work.

The publisher was over the Moon with how it looked but "We've decided we want to go in a different direction" and what direction was that?  Nowhere.  I think the company moved into computer game mags and the vanished.  Another publisher was all "Yeah.  Wow. Cool" but he'd gone to a music club the Friday before our final meeting.  When we met he had decided that music magazines was the ay to go.


Here is the funny bit.  Five years after getting no work the two artists who were "heading for the big time" got back in touch.  Tried going over the top on flattering me (like that has ever worked!) and asked whether I was looking for artists -perhaps I could write scripts for me as "you are a brilliant writer!"  I pointed out how they had left me in the lurch and that I would never write for them again and certainly not represent them.  "Stick with Marvel Comics" I wrote.

This image was the rough the colour cover (lost by the publisher) was based on and the "June 98" tells me this was done in 1997 -I always date my projects a year ahead and they are NEVER ready until the first six issues are completed.

Crap rough illo but a mixed memory.

The other cover is from, I believe 1992 -it would have been after the "All Finish" issue of Zine Zone International.  It was to be the "All Russia" issue but apart from Zine Zone International in what would have been the title sub-bar and dialogue I cannot remember what else it says!   The fellow in the checked suit has appeared on and off in Black Tower....and in a bath of custard trap set by Devilina (I think I posted that?).

The "All Russia" issue was to promote some of my comics getting to Russia -BUT there was some clamp down and the UK Government was also not happy with the idea.  Big sigh.

Yeah, I had long hair.  Yeah, I wore fingerless gloves.  Yeah, I was a bit more "buff" back then -I had to be to hold editors out of windows, throw publishers in the Thames and rip doors off their hinges.

And the Berol pens used on these -the ink is still as black as it was in 1997 and 1992.

I know -crap art but all covers start somewhere (ZAG 21 had six -6- dummy covers so that if one cover never worked another might or......

fun times.

The Green Skies. You Were Warned: Kathatakathalaka The Many-Eyed One IS Coming!

These photographs have been gathered by United Nations Outer Space Affairs Division (Unit X). These are NOT Photoshopped!












The Deception has begun. We are at 30 Seconds to Midnight!

XM Studios Magik | SGCC 2019!

Sunday, 29 December 2019

I've learnt to live with disappointment

Normally I might feel a little guilty about using CBO readers to test something out. However, as none of you ever comment or show interest in any way I had no problems.

A You Tuber stated that he could "guarantee" thousands more hits by adding "SJW" or "Hate Star Wars" to a video title.  In fact, this was  what You Tubers were openly admitting to doing to boost views.  The number of persons actually falling for this click-bait are not as numerous as they were and 99% of those were never truly comic fans.

Then someone suggested I ought to do similar.  I did not and do not post on CBO to get higher stats -Blogger (who will not address this problem) keeps pushing my stat counter back to just over 3 million views whereas my notes show that since moving to blogger in 2011 the views actually total 6 million.

As an aside, Blogger is currently trying to get people to try "New Blogger" which has a lot of problems but the intention is for their masters -Google (ominous enough)- to "roll out" the new version in 2020. Remember how Google rolled out new features on Google Plus, drove a lot of people away and then closed their "here as long as we are" chats and Google Plus of course. Yahoo and Google are closing down anything that does not make them money. Blogger apparently does not make them money.

Anyway, over 6 million views just on the blog so I exclude hits from Twitter, Pinterest and so on. Why would I want to try the click-bait title for a post?  I thought about it and thought about it then said "okay". My assumption was that there would not be many hits. "Hate Star Wars" and "SJW" are, over 24 hours later, still CBOs top posts.

Who got it wrong then?

Believe me, daily, I could tear into Marvel and DC as well as any other thing attracting views. I could ignore that the current run of The Avengers is good (even if you can read an entire issue in a minute) and just go after the writer or artists (remember when a Marvel comic was pencilled by one person then inked by another? Now you need a squad to do both). That is not what CBO is about but I do understand people who produce negative, often twisting the facts or making stuff up videos and blogs DO get a lot of views and even Patreon support. I have found that being honest and straight forward never pays.

So, there we are. Disappointing but I've learnt to live with disappointment .

XM Studios DC Comics Statues | SGCC 2019!

Saturday, 28 December 2019

18 The Toy Room - “Marx Battleground Playset”

HATING Star Wars

another test

SJWs

just a test

get in touch!



Now I am going to post a link to the post in question so that you can all read it for yourselves:
https://hoopercomicart.blogspot.com/2019/12/everyone-knows-i-am-working-on-marvel.html

You might  wonder why I have to refer to this matter again? On Christmas Eve I received a Face Book message from a US comics blogger who asked "for the 411 on the Image Comics project". He wrote "411" a couple of times and I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. While I was waiting his next message I looked up "411" apparently, don't quote me, that is the phone number in the United States for "Information"?  I have no idea.

Anyway, the blogger was quite rude "insisting" rather than asking about the project. I sent him the link to the above post and he got "irritated" and insisting that I was holding out for bigger publicity and I was lying -"is it because of an NDA?" -NDA -Non Disclosure Agreement). It took a while but despite wanting to just block him I pointed out that the books in question did exist but were published by me under Black Tower Comics and I would be more than willing to answer any questions on them.

He never replied so I never heard which You Tube comic person had "broken the news".

I can assure you that neither I, nor Ben Dilworth, have been signed up by Image Comics or Dark Horse to redraw and publish Return of the Gods and Cross-Earths Caper and the Green Skies for them.

A couple of other You Tubers contacted me.  "It'll bee(sic) good publicity for you!" I was told.

People need to learn to read.

Oh, yes, someone did think my remark that I was working on a Marvel Comics project was the real deal. If I made it any more obvious a joke...

What is annoying is that these persons claim to have checked out all the posts to do with those books and were very -VERY- interested. When I convinced them that Image and Dark Horse was not involved but that I would willingly answer questions on the books...nothing. Interest was gone.

Why? Image comics or Dark Horse -very interested. A struggling publisher producing those books -no interest at all.  I think this shows why so many Independent publishers have vanished because the fake "geek/nerd" culture only recognises big publishers as 'independents'.

Anyway, I can find no new mentions of the books online and the first blogger appears to have deleted his news "exclusive" story 😆😆

Any serious interest in interviews to publicise MY books...get in touch!

Friday, 27 December 2019

Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian comic books

One thing that I wanted to do was take a look at comics from the Baltic States.  Sadly, a bit like Sweden, I never get to see or hear about what is being produced there.  I mean -they MUST have comic books surely?

Anyway, if any publishers from those countries read this and would like some publicity -get in touch via comments and I'll forward my email.

Thanks!

Swiss Army Dance - We Will Rock You

The True History of The Pied Piper of Hamelin | Fairy Tales With Jen

Faerie Tale Theatre 18 @ The Pied Piper Of Hamelin avi

The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning

Fireball XL5 Theme song

Gin Wigmore - Hey Ho (Official Video)

1977 Star Wars Marvel Comics 1-107 Complete Run

Thursday, 26 December 2019

The History of the Gobots - Finishing 2nd to Transformers Isn't So Bad

Inside the studio of legendary comic book artist Alex Ross

Boxing Day Chat

Hope everyone has gotten over the daftest day of the year? Personally I spent most of it tidying up the house which gave me time to think things through. Cleaning the bathroom today. Oh joy.

Anyway, while being unwell I have looked at all of the options open to me in 2020 and what it might mean for Black Tower Comics & Books. Didn't turn out too good.

I currently have 9 books (comic albums and graphic novel)that are just sitting on an external drive. Covers and everything done. The problem is that none are converted to PDF format which means that they are not ready to be uploaded to the Print On Demand (POD) company. The problem here is not really a problem but m ore a case of what is the point. There are 90 books covering all genres on the online store front but no one buys. I have a couple of boxes of publications that are not on the store front -so 130 plus I think in total. No one is buying. So what would be the point of putting up more books?

"They contain UK Golden Age reprints -people want those!" Well, no. There are the original single volumes of British Golden Age comics that have not sold a single copy and some of those have been on the store 10 years.  The 400 plus pages collection has had 5 sales since it was first published but even promoting them on my olf Yahoo groups resulted in no sales.  So a mix of GA, Silver Age and contemporary strips I cannot see selling any better!

Then I have the biggest graphic novel I have done to date -the last one I'll do- The Green Skies. Hundreds of pages that I cannot letter or give a last tidy up to.  The problem here is that when the old PC died I lost my Microsoft Office Publisher/Word and Adobe Photoshop. I cannot hand letter (my hands are too far gone) and pages need to be sized and formatted. To purchase replacement programs would cost several hundred £/$ and that is money from fantasy land as far as I am concerned. Also, I have a barely functioning laptop so throwing non-existent cash at it is pointless.

I had thought that, in 2009, when I shifted everything to POD and offered far better quality of paper and print sales would pick up.  In fact, I get far fewer sales now than I did when everything was Small Press -another lie about how the internet will increase your business profitability proven. Remember that my books are listed on book sites around the world -even those listed on Amazon (still listed though I withdrew them from the site as I earned something like £1 if a £25 book sold!) never sold a copy.

There are things I am working on, as I have shown here, 35 pagers that cannot be lettered. I'm into another book that, again, will not be lettered.

I could go back to the Small Press method -as Ben Dilworth has done on his Black Tower books and they look quite effective. But that is still producing more books that in all likelihood will not sell.

Once the laptop quits (I am concerned that it has only screwed up this posting once!!) that is it. I am off the internet.

I need a new computer.

In the past I have asked book companies that do really well out of Comic Bits Online whether they might consider paying for adverts on the site. No. "We do not budget for advertising" -and my ad rates were LOW. I tried approaching other companies because if CBO does well it means book production continues. No. I tried Patreon, GoFundMe -even a PayPalMe box on CBO but absolutely not a single penny yet CBO has had millions of views and even the promise of more content such as videos saw no interest. This Christmas I posted about Chinese comics -Manhwa (a lot of it has been reposted by others taking the credit). Views sky-rocketed and not from Chinese language countries -there was the usual absence of any comments but the views still hit the roof. Donate a £/$ each time you visit CBO...no. It's all grab for free.

So I have tried everything but unless some computer manufacturer offers a free computer my time on the internet is limited -and book production has ground to a halt. I don't even have the ability to work on my manuscripts has stopped. Having said that, the prose books have not sold so perhaps its for the best!

What it all comes down to is that 2020 as far as I am concerned will be no different than 2009-2019: maybe one sale and then...nothing.

Even on the Black Tower Face Book page I notice the views have trebled- yet questions/comments seem lacking.

That is the situation as it stands so if I suddenly vanish off the net you'll know why.

If you are in Australia or the Phillippines -stay safe


Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Comic-Spende an Crayton Folge 37 | Wünsche euch allen: Frohe Weihnachten...

The Top 10 Action Figures of 2019 - Dan in the Photobooth #201

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Workshop: The Making of KANG

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Legendary Best Studios | Thor | Magneto | Captain America | SGCC 2019!

Monday, 23 December 2019

SPAWN : LES COMICS INTERDITS !

Caroline Polachek - So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings (Official Video)

Top 10 Best Star Wars The Black Series Action Figures - List Show #78

Cinebook the 9th Art Newsletter 144 - December 2019

Dear Reader,
Well, that's another year in the bag. And while we're still light on flying cars, at least we also avoided the robot apocalypse, so - a win!
Half of one, anyway. If you were waiting for the final episode of our own robot apocalypse story, SAM, we are very sorry to say that the book has been delayed. However, the delay will be a short one: We Will Never Forget You will be available at the end of January instead - with our apologies!
For now, please enjoy the return of our very British duo Blake & Mortimer, as they struggle to save Hong Kong from invasion. Dive into the rich history of China, both distant and recent - with, of course, a bit of a fantastic twist - and discover the secrets of The Valley of the Immortals!
Finally, we're happy to announce that volumes 2 and 4 of Lucky Luke (Ghost Town and Jesse James) have been reprinted and are once again available.
December with Cinebook: happy holidays, everyone!


Blake & Mortimer 26
Van Dongen and Berserik & Sente
The Valley of the Immortals - Part 2
Mortimer is brought to the camp of General Li Hsi, the Chinese warlord, where he is reunited with a seriously injured Nasir. The professor was kidnapped in order to recover the archaeological proof of the general's imperial lineage, but also to repair the Red Wing ... Read more

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Yokai monsters: 100 monsters English subbed

UPDATED Wong Yuk Long (TONY WONG) Interview, Batman Hong Kong

Please note that I have retyped certain sections 2-3 times but the text is appearing small. Thios is my final go so....


It is a little odd.  That is Alfred and that is Bruce Wayne -and Batman.  It's Batman Hong Kong after all. Doug Moench wrote the story of course and he is very well known to us oldies as the man who wrote Master of Kung Fu for Marvel Comics (1975-77?). And fellow blogger Subzero has touched on this series a couple times:


http://talesfromthekryptonian.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/master-of-kung-fu-monday-with-paul.html

Some of this posting comes from my old freeservers Manhua site and I thought that since it was never published on any version of CBO -why not?

I've been writing articles about Manhua now for over 30 years.  That seems almost ridiculous but I've just checked and, yes, I wrote my first piece after a visit to China Town (London) and scoring a few Chinese Manhua -then, of course, Jademan Comics appeared suddenly before vanishing and leaving me broken hearted....sigh.

So, I've added more art and new bits and pieces.  I wonder whether Mr Dilworth remembers our Jademan inspired one off Chinese super hero strip featuring "Golden Tiger"??

Anyway, this post is about Wong Yuk Long and not me so...

Drawing square jaws, ironing board thighs, and cosmic backdrops and influencing generations of comic book artists, Jack Kirby was and still is the King of Comics in America.

 In Hong Kong, Tony Wong is the king. Making his debut at 13 in 1971, he went on to dominate the Hong Kong industry by writing, illustrating, and publishing the Jademan Comics line of the '80s, which peaked, went public, and died in the stock market crash of 1987. In 1991 Wong was imprisoned for forgery, but upon release he founded Jade Dynasty comics and is doing better than ever.

Most recently, he has expanded his audience by illustrating Batman Hong Kong for DC Comics.

GR: You've created so many comic series. Which ones are you most proud of and why? 

TW: Dragon and Tiger Heroes is about a group of heroic youngsters. The story mixes martial arts from different countries, but Chinese kung fu is the dominant element. The exciting battles have won the hearts of many fans, and the series is the cornerstone of my comic business' success.

 The series has been published on a weekly schedule for over 30 years and will soon reach vol. 1500. Story of Weapons of the Gods adopts martial weapons into the main story, and incorporates principles of the Chinese mythology and martial art battles. It¹s been a great success, contributing to the associated product boom that generated manifold business opportunities.

GR: How do you feel about comics as art? Is there a division between high and low art? 

TW: There are high and low techniques of art, but there is no definite grading for it. It's a matter of how viewers appreciate, understand, and feel about it. Comics being viewed as an art is definitely very positive.

GR: Did you go to art school or have any mentors? 

TW: I didn't attend any art school. I was 6 when my eyes were first riveted to the comic sections in the newspaper. My elder brother inspired me to send my drawings to the publisher.

GR: How do you feel about being called Hong Kong's King of Comics? How did you get the title?

TW: I feel real honored to be crowned Hong Kong's King of Comics. I feel a stronger sense of social responsibility to do something for the Hong Kong comic industry. I feel blessed that my work and contribution in the past 30 years has been appreciated and recognized.

GR: What comics influenced you when you were growing up?

TW: There are many comics that influenced me. From Hong Kong, Michael Hui's The Raid and Ho Yat Guan's Black Bat. From Japan, Saito Takao's 007 and Mikiya Mochizuki's Wild Seven.

GR: How are comics from Hong Kong unique? Are they different than Japanese or Korean ones?

TW: The action, heroic spirit, detailed lines, and colorful images are better than Japanese or Korean comics. Also, Hong Kong comics are published weekly with an average of 30 pages, which is more exciting.

GR: What do you think of American comics?

TW: Sundry style and heart-stopping story line.

GR: How did you feel when you got the Batman job?

TW: Very excited. I found it to be very challenging. The style was specially arranged to tie in with the overall story.

GR: How do you keep up your rapid pace of drawing?

TW: Because there's a deadline.


Above/below: Batman Hong Kong

GR: Do you have a special chair for drawing?

TW: No, it's only an ordinary chair that I have sat in all these years.

GR: Do you listen to music when you draw?

TW: I need to fully concentrate when I pick up my pencil, so I don't listen to music. However, once I start inking I will play some modern or classical music.

GR: Do you use a computer in your art-making process?

TW: I only use my computer when I start to do the coloring and special effects. It's also handy and efficient when to use for saving the background, costumes, and weapons for future reference.

GR: A lot of your comics are now online. Is that the future of comics?

TW: The Internet is just a media network. I believe that print is still the dominant media in comic books.

GR: I heard Donnie Yen is directing a film version Gate of the Dragon and Tiger. Are you involved in movie adaptations of your work?

TW: I'm actively involved in the production of those movies, but the role of the director has not yet been confirmed.

GR: How do you feel about HK movie adaptations of comics like Storm Ridersand Young & Dangerous? Are they good for the comics industry or do they mess it up?

TW: I personally believe that comics being transformed into animation, a movie, or TV series is the best. There's still room to grow, though. I think they can do a better job.

GR: I'm a big fan of the Deer and the Cauldron books by Louis Cha. What's it like adapting his novels?

TW: I have no worries about the story line, so I only have to focus on the drawings. It is a very pleasant working experience.

GR: Did you draw when you were away from comics in 1991? Did this break affect your style?

TW: Yes. There's more emphasis on the story line. Each volume's story and structure are associated and there's a harmonic balance between the martial arts battle scenes and story.

Below: Drunken Master [c]1984 Tony Wong


Nb:info taken from HONG KONG COMICS by Wendy Siuyi Wong


Tiger Wong and creator Tony Wong Yuk-long aim to draw in new generation

Tony Wong Yuk-long at East Point City. Photo: Nora Tam

When a statue of comic book hero Tiger Wong was being set up for an exhibition at a shopping mall, it was parents rather than their children who were getting out phones to take photos.

In the golden age of Hong Kong comics, Tiger Wong was the most popular cartoon character of the 1980s.

And his creator, Tony Wong Yuk-long, is now celebrating 50 years as a cartoonist - his work making its first appearance when he was just 13.

The exhibition at East Point City, Tseung Kwan O, is a celebration of his amazing career so far. "It will be quite nostalgic," said Wong, a comic book hero in his own right.

When his series Dragon and Tiger Heroes was at its peak, the comic book industry in Hong Kong pulled in annual sales of HK$300 million, Wong recalled. "But now we barely make HK$100 million a year."

The booming online game industry has pushed cartoonists further to the edge. "We've lost the young generation to online games, which happen to share the same subject as local comics - kung fu. It's not only readers, but also young talents," Wong said.

According to Hong Kong popular culture expert Yiu Wai-hung, the cartoon industry has been in serious decline since the 1990s.

"The government's crackdown on pornographic comic books in the 1990s made the whole cartoon industry look very bad in the eyes of the public," he said.

Real cartoonists should have adopted the pocketbook layout popular among Japanese cartoonists to differentiate their comics from the porn booklets and rebrand the industry, Yiu added.

Like Wong, Yiu has found the city's young generation would rather devote their talent to designing characters in online games rather than cartoon series. Their income and status is also higher than people entering the comic book industry.

Wong believes the industry could be revitalised if cartoonists would take on new subjects, such as romance and ghost stories, and develop merchandise, which has proved to be a huge success in Japan and the United States.

"It's also why I set up the exhibition - to introduce my works to the young generation," he said.

The exhibition runs from next Monday to October 20.

Paul Gulacy, naturally, drew the comic and the team made it one of the comics of the 1970s.

But with Batman Hong Kong, Moench scripted for what the back cover blurb calls "international manga artist" Tony Wong. Seriously?  "Manga"??  Really, in Japan the comic form is Manga.  In Korea it is known as Manhwa.  But in China/HK it is Manhua. And there are more than a few Chinese who would be offended that that huge error.

The colours are the first thing that strike the eye but then there are all those tell-tale techniques of Hong Kong Manhua. At first I was a little unsure about the Batman drawn in a Manhua style but it does work.  I have no idea whether Night Dragon has ever appeared again (they probably changed him into a 15 year old African-American or something).  Pity.

Basically, the story is this: "When a serial killer begins to use a streaming video computer cam to broadcast his vicious executions, Batman must travel to Hong Kong to put an end to the brutal slayings. But when the Darknight Detective gets caught in the middle of a Cain and Abel feud between the Hong Kong police chief and the leader of the local triads, his only hope may rest in the hands of the mysterious Night Dragon, Hong Kong's native super-hero."

It's still widely available and on Amazon, so I'd very highly recommend it. And how can I not do a re-post about the great Tony Wong who is another creator I always wanted to work with but doubt I ever will!

***********************************

 Which,oddly, is where the interview ended.  I am hoping, however, to try to interview Mr Wong for SBC online this Summer. ...yeah that fell through thanks to the new editor being insulting to Mr Wong (!).  But I have found a You Tube video of the man at work!  Thanks to uploader Jan Mai.


Above: Sadly in Chinese no subtitles -but you get to see him work!

Above: Batman and Dragon from the BATMAN HONG KONG book for DC [c] 2007 DC/Wong



Below:Buddha's Palm. [c]1982 T.Wong  Drunken Master 2 [c] 2014 Tony Wong
Young Rascals no.1 [c] 2014Tony Wong






LITTLE RASCALS

Wong Yuk-long's most popular comic was translated literally to English from Siu Lau-man,and carried connotations of a little gangster with anti social behaviour.  It was an original creation about a group of unemployed young hoodlums living in Hong Kong's Public Housing.

The story revolves around Wong Siu-fu and his elder brother,Wong Siu-lung,whose one hair covered eye brands him as "bad" [ah,now that explains the bad haircut---and maybe bad clothing style].  He turns away from crime to help his brother fight evil. 

In the initial stories weapons used included chains,knives,clubs and so on which,of course,led to blood-spilling!  This changed as the series progressed so that wounds revealed the villains intestines,bones and more.  As can be seen from the covers not a lot was left out.

The positive message was not the main selling point after a while:the violence was.


Within a few years people were not just criticizing the violence in Little Rascals but other fighting comics also.

In 1975 the Indecent Publications Law called for less graphic violence.  Despite depictions of bloodshed still being common,Wong changed the title to Oriental Heroes and experimented with other ideas.

Now, do I deliver or do I deliver?  No, I have no idea what I'm talking about either except that I just came across this news item about the man himself and his work -and please visit the site for a video of Wong and his work!

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1313232/tiger-wong-and-creator-tony-wong-yuk-long-aim-draw-new-generation


The stories emphasize brotherhood,even though there is sibling fighting they still fight for justice





All Photos and art [c] the respective copyright owners.



PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 September, 2013, 12:00am



Andrea Chen andrea.chen@scmp.com

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Tiger and Tony aim to draw in new generation